Re: Poynder on OA in Europe

From: (wrong string) édon <>
Date: Sun, 18 Mar 2007 15:02:06 -0400

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The relationship brought up by some between OA and patents has always
puzzled me. The alleged conflict puzzles me even more.

The possibility of patenting an idea is tied to the publication status of
the same idea, not to the access status. For example, in some
juridictions, prior publishing prevent patenting. Whether the publication
is in in open access or not is completely irrelevant to this issue. I
repeat: completely irrelevant!!!!.

Mandating self-archiving has nothing to do with patenting, and cannot
scare commercial partners. On the contrary, as Stevan Harnad rightly
points out, firms with R&D activities would welcome open access because
it would open up the possibility of surveying the whole scientific
literature without paying for it. The only group scared by open access is
largely made up of commercial publishers (and, alas, some scientific
societies that do not seem to understand how toll-gating the information
they publish goes against their mission to disseminate the knowledge of
their discipline or speciality)  and they have lobbied very hard to
prevent mandating. This has nothing to do with economic development and
competitive advantage; it has all to do with preserving the privileges of
a specialized industry - that of scientific publishing.

When I see such levels of confusion, as between publishing and OA vs
patenting, I cannot help but ask myself: is this honest confusion, but
then issues of competence arise, or is it to create confusion among
ill-informed readers? The latter, by the way, is also known as FUD (Fear,
uncertainty and doubt).

I wonder...

Jean-Claude Guédon

Le dimanche 18 mars 2007 à 17:46 +0100, Barry Mahon a écrit :

 On Fri, 16 Mar 2007 17:13:56 +0100, Stevan Harnad <harnad_at_ECS.SOTON.AC.UK> wrote:

> From Peter Suber's Open Access News

> Why did the EC step back from the
> brink, and where does this leave the OA Movement? ...
> "The EC's long-awaited policy on Open Access was published as
> a Communication on 15th February, and formally announced at a
> conference on scientific publishing held in Brussels.
> "While the Commission has decided that it will encourage researchers
> to publish their papers in "author-pays" OA, or hybrid, journals it
> chose not to introduce a self-archiving mandate. Rather it will issue
> programme-specific "guidelines" for making publicly-funded research
> available on the Web after an embargo period. This, it says, will
> be done on a sectoral basis, taking into account the specificity of
> the different scholarly and scientific disciplines."

      Why is anybody surprised?? The EC support for R&D is an
      economic activity, it is designed to create economic
      development, jobs, etc. The political justification for the
      vast amounts the EC has spent and is spending of the various
      Framework programmes is that they will keep the EU ahead in
      the technical/economic game. Any 'guarantee' of OA by the EC
      would send commercial partners running for cover. My own
      recollection of the programmes is that commercial partners in
      EU projects were very reluctant to publish anything, at least
      until they had patents and other cover in place. I recall a
      speaker from a commercial player, at an early Esprit
      conference, saying - "we are in this because it is the
      cheapest money you can get to do R&D and we are in it on our

 Bye, Barry
Received on Sun Mar 18 2007 - 20:25:44 GMT

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